Marissa Hunt & Emma Wolfe Taking THON Talents From Stands To Floor As Dancers

This isn’t Marissa Hunt and Emma Wolfe’s first rodeo.

The dancer pair from Student Penn State Education Association (SPSEA) spent all 46 hours of THON 2022 in the stands at the Bryce Jordan Center, holding it down for their fellow org members. At THON 2023, they’re both on the floor as dancers, with their org compatriots supporting them in the stands.

Both Hunt and Wolfe’s involvement with THON started before they came to Penn State. Growing up in State College, Hunt was raised in THON culture; Wolfe was involved in mini-THON at her high school. Both of them knew that when they came to Penn State, they wanted to continue their involvement.

“When I came to college, I immediately got involved with an organization. From there, I was with them through THON, doing THON, even a virtual THON,” Wolfe said during THON.

While 2023 is the first THON that Wolfe applied to be a dancer, Hunt applied, and was denied, for THON 2022. Still, both of them were determined to stand for all 46 hours, no matter the circumstances.

“I wanted to be there for Lauren, our friend, but also all of the dancers, all the angels, all the kids. So it was a really inspirational experience,” Hunt said.

“I was gonna stand all 46 [hours] no matter what. I didn’t apply to dance, but it’s fine. You’re here for the kids. You’re here to support them,” Wolfe added about THON 2022. “You’re here to be here through the journey and make memories and it was an unforgettable experience.”

After standing for the full duration of THON last year, both dancers felt prepared to make the effort again in 2023. Still, they’re noticing adjustments from the stands to the floor.

“I have that confidence, but also, it’s just completely different being on the floor, which I think is a great experience, too. But, I’m very excited,” Hunt said.

“It’s a whole different vibe,” Wolfe said. “I feel like I have a little bit more freedom down here than I did in the stands and it’s just a whole different mindset being an actual dancer than someone in the stands.”

This year, Wolfe and Hunt approached their dancing complete with the knowledge of how to survive the 46-hour grind.

“I cut out coffee. I’m not the best at going to bed early, so I would not give that advice. My advice here is to bring things that are going to make you happy throughout the day,” Wolfe said. “I’m so excited to go put on a new pair of shoes, just because I’m ready for that change. And I know that my body needs that change and that’s what I definitely took away from last year.”

During their last THON as Penn State students, Wolfe and Hunt are just trying to make memories that will last a lifetime.

“I want to just be present for everything, take everything in, be able to look up in the stands and see all the different colors and the shirts,” Hunt said. “I want to be able to take that in.”

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He covers Penn State football, among other Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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